LIVING BY FAITH
Excerpts from the writings and sermons of Evangelist Lester Roloff
Faith lives in a high tower. Paul said to the church at Ephesus, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” That old four-star general who could prove his faith by his scars said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Faith was his crowning virtue. Even though he lost his head, he kept his faith.
Faith is not simply wishing, wanting, trying, hoping, striving, or even waiting. Most of these are enemies of real Bible faith. We are told that “the just shall live by faith” four times in the Bible—Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. And Hebrews 10:32 through 12:4 is the Pike’s Peak of that great letter.
We must first remember that faith is real. It is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Spiritual substance is the evidence of the only things that are real. Faith is a gift (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:9; Romans 3:23). Faith is the rope tied to the bucket of reality, dipping itself into the fullness of God.
Faith is stepping when there is no place to step, like Moses at the Red Sea when commanded of the Lord to go forward. Faith is like the old man who was chided because of his great faith in God when someone said, “I guess if God told you to jump through that brick wall, you’d jump.” He said, “Yes, sir, it is my responsibility to jump and God’s to make a hole in the wall.” Faith is the victory (I John 5:4). Faith scarcely makes the headlines of man, but it makes the “Who’s Who” of heaven.
Faith is endurance (Hebrews 11:27). Faith is pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith keeps Jesus current with your problems and looks to Him as today’s Savior and Helper. Faith is Bible living. Faith is salvation (Ephesians 2:8). Faith is the hand and arm that reaches after the garment of God for certain healing. Faith is man’s extremity and God’s opportunity. Faith works better when the last straw of human help has been exhausted. When Jacob was shut up to faith at Jabbok, he came out with the victory (Genesis 32:22-31).
Faith is life’s extension cord. Hezekiah prayed after the undertaker had knocked on the door, and God gave him fifteen more years. Faith is man resting and God working. Faith is receiving, then giving all (Mark 11:24; Romans 10:17). Faith is God in action on the battlefield. Faith is the complete surrender demonstrated by Jesus on the cross—betrayed, denied, and forsaken—yet finishing His mission.
I can hear Jesus’ diagnosis and remedy: “O faithless and perverse generation…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed.…” In this day when much of the work of God looks wilted and Christianity looks awfully pale, it is no time to retreat, but a time to retrench and retread and rewind. And even though we must be living in the days of the final apostasy, where faith has faded into form and lost its fire, I believe there can be something genuine when Jesus comes again.
With Jesus interceding above and the Holy Spirit indwelling and abiding in our hearts, there is no excuse or reason for failure. I’ve had to confess to God that I can’t hold on, and that He must hold me on. I’m fully persuaded that what He has promised, He is able to perform (Romans 4:21).
My life of faith began one Wednesday night as I lay a very sick young man in the hall of that old ranch house in Navarro Country, Central Texas. About ten o’clock that night, I said, “Lord, if you’re calling me to preach, I’ll preach.” And God gave me a real taste of peaceful sleep that I had not known in months.
It was during the Great Depression, and the times seemed impossible. After staying out of school a year following high school graduation and picking cotton in West Texas, I went off to Baylor University. I took my old milk cow to furnish milk for my board and room, and I had to guarantee three gallons a day. That was a step of faith!
Faith will allow no competition to Christ or the Word. When one questions the Word of God, the wisdom of God, or the goodness of God, he is immediately off of faith ground. When one begins to whine and murmur, to complain and doubt, he is off the good old faith line. When one spends his time enumerating what he had to give up in order to live by faith instead of what he got by living by faith, he has missed the trail.
Faith allows many tears and tests, but never puts up with a compromise. Faith permits loneliness and heartaches and many misunderstandings. Faith is a pioneer—it keeps its subject constantly on new ground. Faith is the Marine leathernecks making new beachheads. Faith demands a tough hide and a tender heart and a saw log for a backbone. Faith longs for only one thing, and that’s the vindication of the Word of God.
In closing, let me suggest if you want to live by faith, that you read the Bible through every year. Practice and exercise your faith. Find a church that adheres to the authority of God’s Word. Choose your close friends carefully. Keep your eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. Memorize much of the Scripture, and praise Jesus and testify for Him every day.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be the glory for ever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36
Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises
“Living By Faith”
(excerpts from Food, Fasting, & Faith by Lester Roloff)